So here we are........
There is absolutely no denying that the past 3 months have caused a shift in your habits and your behavior. You may have found yourself snacking a bit more, skipping a few workouts, sleeping in, and generally being lazy.
Here's the good news. Gyms are starting to open back up for outdoor workouts (HOORAY!!!!) which means the catalyst we've all been waiting for to get back on track is ready and waiting for us.
I'm just as guilty as anyone else, I thought summer body season was cancelled. Now it looks like we're actually going to have a summer and I want to quickly reverse the quarantine 15 (YIKES).
I know a lot of you reading this are in the same boat, and want to hit the gym fast and furious. The problem is that is a recipe for injury. Take a second to think back to how long it took you to get to the level of fitness you were at in March. It wasn't a day, it wasn't a week, it wasn't even a month. It took several months of dedication, discipline, commitment, and hard work. It would be silly for you to think that you can step back into outdoor workouts at the same level and intensity.
With that in mind I want to give you a few helpful tips so that you can ease back into the gym, avoid preventable aches and pains, and still get yourself on track for summer body season.
1. CHECK YOUR EGO AT THE DOOR
I know how good it felt when you hit that deadlift PR, trust me, I've been there. Now is not the time to go for it. Don't forget that it has been 3 months since the last time you touched a barbell, let alone a heavy one. You need to shake off the rust and start to get comfortable with these movements again. Just like when playing sports, there is a certain level of skill that is required with weightlifting. If you want to be stronger than ever at the end of the summer, start now by checking your ego at the door. Start with lighter weights to nail your form, build back your skill, and build up your endurance.
2. SCALE YOUR WORKOUT
This is going to be a hard pill to swallow. You might not be able to Rx your workouts right away. That means either the weight, the number of reps, or the complexity of the movement. There is absolutely no shame in doing a ring row instead of a pull up, but there can be some harm by doing a pull up instead of a ring row. If you're sitting there thinking you would be embarrassed to scale your workout, think about how embarrassing it would be to get hurt in front of the entire group because you forgot that strength takes 6-8 weeks to build back up.
3. FOCUS ON MOBILITY
We all know that a good warm up will lead to a great workout, but don't forget that you've been cooped up inside for 90 days. Your hips are not as limber as they used to be, your spine is probably feeling stiff, and your ankles might feel like they are hitting a brick wall. All of this is going to impact your movement quality. It is up to you if you want it to be a positive or negative impact, but keep in mind the negative impact leads down a road to injury. If you're not sure what it means to work on your mobility you can check out a ton of great drills on my youtube channel HERE or on my instagram page HERE.
4. EAT YOUR FRUITS AND VEGGIES
This one may sound silly because you mom has been telling you the same thing since you were a kid, but abs are made in the kitchen and what you eat will determine how you feel. I am not saying to go full vegan or vegetarian, that is another debate entirely, but I am telling you that if you pack your boy full of nutrient dense foods it is going to be a lot easier to recover from your workouts. When you recovery better, you can get back to a higher level of intensity quicker and in the end isn't that we all are after? Great workouts so that we can feel good, look good, and conquer any challenge in front of us.
5. RECOVER AS HARD AS YOU TRAIN
This may be a little foreign for some of you (definitely not for anyone who has come into my office though). Let's face it, most of us aren't 20 years old anymore and that means that training isn't just training. What we do outside of the gym is going to greatly impact what we do inside of the gym. Trying to do a 100% workout while you only have a 50% full gas tank is going to catch up to you a lot sooner than it might have 15 years ago, but it is really easy to avoid that. The two most effective things you can do don't require you to spend any money, or any extra time. First, whatever your body weight is drink that number of ounces of water EVERY DAY. Second, get AT LEAST 8 hours of sleep. I know what you're thinking, I have kids, I have too much work to do, and my favorite show doesn't start until 10:00 PM. It doesn't matter. You need to make the time and prioritize your recovery so you can meet your long term health and fitness goals.
So there you have it. Five things that you need to do RIGHT NOW in order to prepare your body for the intensity of your impending workouts.
If you find yourself saying, I don't know what any of this means I want to invite you in for a free consultation either in my office or virtually, and if you're want a little more guidance with respect to mobility work you can download this guide I put together for just that purpose.
If you have questions specific to any aches or pains you have had in the past, came on during lock-down, or that are creeping up on you as you're getting back into it please E-mail me (firstname.lastname@example.org), there is not need for you to deal with the pain when you can start addressing it today.